Plants & People

Wanted: Early Career Scientist to help develop Botany One

We're adapting to COVID in our search for an editor to replace Anne Osterrieder.

Botany One is an online magazine with the mission of making plant science research accessible to a wider audiences – posting stories from a wide range of credible sources, including scientific journals.

The magazine is looking to appoint an Academic Editor to join its leadership team. The successful applicant will work with the News Editor and a team of writers to develop academic strategy. The goal will be highlight innovative work in academia that Botany One currently misses. A high priority will be put on engaging early career academics and those from historically underrepresented demographic groups.

Botany One is owned and published by the Annals of Botany Company (https://annalsofbotanycompany.co.uk/), a not-for-profit organisation that also publishes its own plant science journals, ‘Annals of Botany’, ‘AoB PLANTS’, and ‘in silico Plants’.

Key tasks

Commission Original Content and Provide Editorial Guidance to Contributors – While we have in-house bloggers, we can improve coverage of science by reaching out to people to provide guest posts. We’re not just interested in what has been found, but also want to know who found it out, how they found it out and why you should care. We believe the best people to promote an interest in botany are botanists, of all kinds from ecology to cell biology.

Mentor Guest Contributors, Particularly PhD Students and Early Career Researchers, in Science Communication and Blogging Skills – We aim to develop an internship model for students who require experience outside the lab, under the UK’s DTP scheme. There may be similar opportunities to offer internships to students from other countries. The Academic Editor will play a key role in developing the blogging skills of these students and providing them with feedback on their writing.

Lead on Themed Weeks and Other Writing Initiatives – One way to highlight innovative work can be through producing theme weeks. For example, it may make sense to have A Month With R In It curating material on how your work can benefit from understanding R, and demonstrating some of the opportunities the statistics package offers. Other examples could be events to tie in with World Wetlands Day, or International Women’s Day or another event where there is a story to tell about how botanists make a valuable contribution that isn’t tied to a specific new paper published.

Help Identify and Attend Meetings Where Someone From Botany One Should Be Present – For most academics, meetings are the first place where they can promote their research and learn about that of others. The Academic Editor will identify the meetings where we can best use our budget to keep abreast of work by Early Career Researchers.

Provide Academic Advice for the News Editor – Not all news stories are based on sound science. Our Academic Editor will be encouraged to give advice on stories and identify those stemming from unreliable sources.

Identify and Develop New Channels for Promoting Botany and Inspiring the next Generation of Botanists – At the moment there is no Botany One podcast or seminar series as we think that other sites are providing these. However, if the Academic Editor identifies gaps in our coverage or output, then we would hope to develop new channels to meet these targets. While the News Editor is managing the site on a day-to-day basis, our Academic Editor will develop a longer term academic strategy for where the site should be headed.

A scientist
Image: Canva.

The Applicant

Our ideal applicant will be someone research-active and/or be active within the academic community, with experience in Botany in the broadest sense. This could include ecology, plant cell/molecular biology, or plant modelling. More important than career stage, the applicant will be able to demonstrate an understanding of social media, an interest in science communication, and a broad interest in Botany.

The role can be carried out remotely, so applicants will be considered from anywhere in the world. Remuneration will be in the form of an honorarium of £6,000 for an estimated 5 hours per week. Payment will be quarterly in pound sterling – which may fluctuate in value compared to your local currency. Given the limited hours of working, it is not anticipated that the Academic Editor will do much writing personally, but rather encourage it in others.

There will be the opportunity for visits to attend meetings, both scientific and of the Company; but sadly these are likely to be curtailed in the immediate future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initial appointment will be for two years.

If you feel you could inspire the next generation to become botanists, please send your CV and cover letter to Hugh Dickinson, Chair, Annals of Botany Company at hugh.dickinson@plants.ox.ac.uk  by December 1 (18:00 GMT). For further information on the post, contact Alun Salt (Digital Producer, Botany One) at webmaster@botany.one.

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